School of Music professor becomes first ECU Guggenheim fellow

East Carolina University School of Music composition and theory professor Edward Jacobs has received a prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. The foundation recognized Jacobs on April 4 for his work as a composer.

Granted by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. The fellowship is designed to assist in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts under the freest possible conditions.

Jacobs is the first ECU faculty member to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, which will support the completion of several commissioned works of original music. Approximately 170 fellows were chosen from more than 3,000 applicants last year.

The Guggenheim Foundation recognized Jacobs on April 5 for his work as a composer.

The Guggenheim Foundation recognized Jacobs on April 4 for his work as a composer.

“It is a great honor to be named a Guggenheim Fellow, and I am deeply grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation and to the performers, composers and colleagues who have offered such vital support of my creative work,” Jacobs said. “Composers depend on those who breathe life into their work, and I have been very fortunate to collaborate with remarkable performers in many different contexts.”

Jacobs has written music for instruments, voices and electronic media in settings including soloist, chamber ensemble, orchestra, concerto and choir. His music has been heard in performances in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and is recorded on the Open G, Innova and (forthcoming 2019) Ablaze record labels. He is published by C.F. Peters Corp., the Association for Promotion of New Music and the American Composers Alliance.

His work as a composer was recognized by a Charles Ives Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts & Letters in 2005.

Jacobs is founder and director of the North Carolina NewMusic Initiative and is the Robert L. Jones Distinguished Professor of Music. He has received two ECU research/creative activity grants and an ECU Teacher-Scholar Award.

In 2015, Jacobs created a unique commissioning and residency program through the N.C. NewMusic Initiative for ECU students and renowned professional composers in a continuing three-year cycle of composition, collaboration and recording, the first of its kind nationally. He has worked with regional middle school music teachers in his Young Composers Project, which seeks to make the creation of music a fundamental part of children’s education.

“Dr. Jacobs’ creativity and commitment to bringing music to people of all ages is an inspiration. It’s dedication and talent like his that have made the composition program at ECU’s School of Music a model for the country and we are proud that he has been named a Guggenheim Fellow,” said ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton.

Jacobs will use the fellowship during a nine-month period to fulfill composition commissions including vocal and instrumental works.

“This Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for uninterrupted writing time,” Jacobs said.  “My goal is to write five or six pieces, about 60 to 70 minutes of music. As I am usually a rather slow-writing composer, this would be a lot for me; but I look forward to seeing how far I can push my imagination.”

Jacobs is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of California, Berkeley, and he received his doctorate from Columbia University. He began teaching at ECU in 1998.

For more information or to listen to Jacobs’ music visit www.edwardjacobs.org.